Last Updated March 17, 2015

Earlier this year, President Obama outlined his plan to create a 21st-century regulatory system that is simpler and smarter and that protects the health and safety of the American people in a pragmatic and cost-effective way. As a key part of that plan, he called for an unprecedented government-wide review of rules already on the books in order to remove those that are out-of-date, unnecessary, excessively burdensome, or in conflict with other rules.

On January 25, 2011, Social Security issued a press release and posted information on our Open Government website requesting public comment about which of our regulations we should review to ensure they are not outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome. After receiving public input, we developed a preliminary plan for a retrospective review of our rules that focuses on our process for updating the Listing of Impairments that we use to evaluate disability claims under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. The listings are examples of impairments that we consider severe enough to qualify the individual for monthly Social Security or Supplemental Security disability benefits.

To further promote public participation and transparency, we took several important steps, starting on May 26, 2011. First, we posted the preliminary plan on our Open Government website. Second, we published a notice in the Federal Register on June 02, 2011, inviting members of the public to comment on the plan. Finally, to ensure that critical stakeholders had an opportunity to weigh in, we reached out to professional associations, advocacy groups, and medical organizations to seek their input. Specifically, we looked for comments on our preliminary plan for updating the medical listings. We were not seeking comments on the content of our medical listings.

We have reviewed the comments we received and have developed the final plan accordingly.

Executive Order 13563 calls not for a single exercise, but for “periodic review of existing significant regulations,” with close reference to empirical evidence. It explicitly states that “retrospective analyses, including supporting data, should be released online wherever possible.” Consistent with the commitment to periodic review and to public participation, we will continue to assess our existing significant regulations in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 13563.

David A. Rust
Deputy Commissioner, Retirement and Disability Policy

August 22, 2011

July 14, 2014 Update:

We have prepared an update showing our progress in reviewing the rules that appear on our final plan.

To learn more and to read other agency plans, please visit